Landlord information in relation to electrical installations

Landlords and the law

Legal duties

Failure to comply with legislation regarding electrical safety can result in large fines, licenses being revoked, fees being levied and in some cases a prison sentence.

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rental property and all electrical equipment provided is safe before renting the property and during its occupancy.

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 in England and Wales states the following:

  • The property should be fit for people to live in at the beginning of the tenancy (subsection (1)(a)).
  • The property should be kept in a fit state for people to live in during the tenancy (subsection (1)(b)).

Part P

What is Part P?

All electrical installation work undertaken in a home in England and Wales must, by law, comply with Part P of the Building Regulations.

If you intend to carry out any electrical installation work in a domestic premises, you must either:

  • Notify a building control body (LABC) before the work starts, or
  • have it carried out by an electrician who is registered with one of the Government authorised Part P competent person scheme operators, or
  • in England, have the work inspected and tested by a registered third party certifier (some electrical contractors will not carry out such work if they haven't been responsible for the installation).

Smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors

The law

From the 1st October 2015, all properties occupied by tenants must ensure the following:

  • A smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accomodation.
  • A carbon monoxide alarm is equipped in any room of the premises which is used wholly or partly as living accomodation and contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance.
  • Checks must be made by or on behalf of the landlord to make sure that each prescribed alarm is in proper working order on the day the tenancy begins (if it is a new tenancy).
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Smoke alarm certificate
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Carbon monoxide certificate

It is adviseable to have a regular agreement with a qualified electrician to carry out installation and testing work - they can provide certification available from electraform like the samples above.


Electrical installations

Definition

An electrical installation comprises all the fixed electrical equipment that is supplied through the electricity meter. It includes cables that are usually hidden in walls, ceilings and under floors. It includes accessories such as socket-outlets, light fittings and switches, the consumer unit that contains circuit breakers or fuses and preferably RCD's.

What constitutes a 'good' electrical installation such as:

  • Providing enough socket-outlets for appliances to minimise the use of multiway trailing extension leads.
  • Covers are in place to prevent body parts coming into contact with live parts (broken or damaged accessories should be replaced without delay).
  • A residual current device (RCD) is installed to provide additional protection against electric shock.
  • Satisfactory earthing arrangements are in place to ensure that a circuit breaker can trip in time before it causes an electric shock.
  • Satisfactory bonding arrangements are in place where required.
  • Sufficient circuits are provided to avoid danger and minimise inconvenience in the event of a fault.
  • Cables are correctly selected and installed in relation to the fuse or circuit breaker protecting the circuit to minimes the chance of fire in the event of overload.

Over time, the installation will start to deteriorate, connections can work loose, equipment can become damaged, building and maintenance work can have an impact on the electrical installation.


Electrical certification

Requirements

You should ensure that you receive and keep all paperwork or electronic documentation (PDF's) for all completed electrical installation work and periodic inspection and testing. All certificates and reports should include schedules of inspections and test results where appropriate.

Installation certification:

  • Electrical Installation Certificates (EIC) and Minor Works Certificates (MW) provide you as the person responsible for the safety of the electrical installation, with a declaration that the new installation, or alteration or addition, is safe to use at the time it was put into service.
  • These certificates also provide basis for any further inspection and testing - they can save costly exploratory work and form a basis for measuring any deterioration of the installation.
  • In the event of a claim that injury or fire was caused by an electrical installation, these certificates are documentary evidence which help show that the installation had been installed to a satisfactory syandard of safety.
  • An EIC must be issued for all new electrical installations. It may also be required for an alteration or an addition if a new circuit has been installed or the consumer unit has been changed.
  • A MW must be issued for any electrical work that does not require the installation of a new circuit, such as changing a socket outlet or installing a light fitting..
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Electrical Installation Certificate
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Minor Works Certificate

Periodic inspection and testing

Requirements

Every electrical installation deteriorates with age and use. You must ensure that your tenant(s) - or anyone entering or using your property are not put at risk, by ensuring that the electrical installation remains in a safe condition for continued use.

A periodic inspection should:

  • Discover if electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded.
  • Identify potential electric shock risks and fire hazards.
  • Find any defective electrical work.
  • Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding.
  • Tests carried out to ensure that circuit breakers or fuses will clear in time in the event of a fault.
  • Provide details of any remedial work that should be carried out.
  • Provide a summary with a decision (Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory) as to whether the installation is fit for continued service.
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Electrical Installation Condition Report

When the outcome of a periodic inspection is Unsatisfactory, remedial work will be necessary to rectify any issues identified as a Code C1 (danger present) or code C2 (potentially dangerous) before the installation can be deemed to be fit for continued service.

It is NOT necessary to issue a "clean" EICR once remedial work has been carried out to a satisfactory standard - the issue of EIC's or MW's will satisfy. Both documents will provide evidence that a periodic inspection has been undertaken, and issues rectified.

It is adviseable to have a regular agreement with a qualified electrician to carry out inspection, testing and remedial work - they can provide certification and reports available from electraform like the samples above.


Frequency of Periodic inspection and testing

Requirements

In general, for rented accomodation, the period between the initial inspection (when the installation was first put into service) and the first periodic inspection should not exceed 5 years.

Further inspections:

  • The person compiling a Condition Report (EICR) may recommend a shorter interval before the next inspection dependant upon the findings.
  • When a change of tenancy occurs, the landlord or their representative should always carry out a visual check to confirm that a property is safe to re-let (See image below).
  • A Visual Condition Report is ideal for such a check and will include confirming that there are no broken or missing appliances, no accessible live parts, no signs of burning and any installed RCD's trip when the test button is pressed.
  • Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding.
  • Tests carried out to ensure that circuit breakers or fuses will clear in time in the event of a fault.
  • Provide details of any remedial work that should be carried out.
  • Provide a summary with a decision (Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory) as to whether the installation is fit for continued service.
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Visual Condition Report
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Landlord Interim inspection Report
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Landlord Interim inspections

When the outcome of a visual inspection is Unsatisfactory, remedial work will be necessary to rectify any issues identified as a Code C1 (danger present) or code C2 (potentially dangerous) before the installation can be deemed to be fit for continued service.

It is adviseable to have a regular agreement with a qualified electrician to carry out periodic and interim inspections - they can provide reports available from electraform like the samples above.


Electrical appliances

Most deaths from electric shocks amd fires in UK homes are caused by misuse, faulty plugs leads and appliances.

Providing electrical appliances:

If you provide appliances (such as a kettle, washing machine etc) for your tenant(s) you should check that the item carries at least a CE mark - this is the manufacturer's claim that it meets the minimum requirements of EU legislation.

Checking electrical appliances:

To ensure electrical appliances remain safe to use, regular basic safety checks should be carried out including:

  • There are no cuts or abrasions in the cable covering.
  • The outer covering of the cable is gripped by the cord grip in the plug top, so that no coloured cable cores are visible from the outside of the plug.
  • The plug casing is not cracked and the pins aren't bent.
  • There are no signs of overheating or burning, particularly at the plug or socket.
  • There are no loose parts or screws.
  • No part of the appliance is damaged or missing.
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Portable Appliance Testing Certificate

It is adviseable to have a regular agreement with a qualified electrician to carry out portable appliance testing on your behalf - they can provide reports and certificates available from electraform like the samples above.